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50 Arrested after Barging into Karnataka Temple and Holding Annual Ritual in Violation of Covid Norms

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

Every year on the eve of Gauri Pooja, the idol of sage Shukamuni is carried in a palanquin and taken around the village in a procession. However, authorities had not given permission this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Fifty people in a Karnataka village have been arrested on charges, including rioting, after a large crowd barged into a temple and attempted to take out a procession in violation of restrictions on the annual ritual due to the cornavirus. The incident happened in Dotihala village in Koppal district's Kushtagi taluk, police said on Friday.

The police said that every year on the eve of Gauri Pooja, the idol of sage Shukamuni is carried in a palanquin and taken around the village in a procession. However, owing to the coronavirus restrictions this year, the authorities had banned any rituals.

The police said that hundreds of people gathered outside the temple premises on Thursday night -- those inside pushed the door open with the palanquin while devotees outside also forced the gate open, all this in the presence of police on the spot.

The police said they had locked the place with the palanquin and had given permission for around 50 people to enter for the pooja, who then went ahead and took the palanquin out. The palanquin was taken out in a procession, violating social distancing norms. A few police vehicles were also damaged.

The authorities said they had only given permission for a pooja inside the temple.

"There was no permission for the procession. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there was permission only for pooja inside the temple but after the pooja, they stepped out to take out a procession and those who were out to witness the offerings inside too joined," said Koppal Superintendent of Police G Sangeetha.

Two cases have been registered in the incident and 50 people arrested so far. They have been tested for Covid-19 and, if negative, will be produced in court.